A possible compromise on liberalising cross-border trade in services within the EU will need to have strong enough majority support in the European Parliament to provide the assembly the political weight to impose its view on EU governments
and the European Commission.
The plan has raised fears of so-called social dumping — costlier workers in the west being undercut by cheaper rivals from the east. Labour unions have praised the efforts being made but say 25,000 members could take to the streets of Strasbourg next week to demonstrate their concern.
On Wednesday the parliament’s two dominant groups, the centre right and the socialists, struck a deal to water down the measure, securing its safe passage in next Thursday’s plenary vote in the French city.
Euro-MPs further to the left called for the measure to be scrapped entirely and sent back to the Commission for a complete overhaul.
Now renamed “freedom to provide services”, the bill would seek to ensure that member states can only object to a firm from another country providing its services across borders for reasons such as public security or protecting health.